Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Holiday Appetizers - Cheese Puffs

Thanks to the Pioneer Woman www.thepioneerwoman.com - this appetizer struck a chord from my youth.

I vividly remember a New Years Eve party my parents threw in the late 70s where we made these cheese puffs. We frosted bread with this cheesy mixture, and my sister and I ate more than our fair share!

Finally found, this recipe will be part of my impromptu New Years gathering - either before Ice Skating or after...

Thanks, Ree!

Prep Time: 15 Minutes Cook Time: 10 Minutes Difficulty: Easy Servings: 8
  • 1 loaf Crusty French Bread, Cut Into 1-inch Cubes
  • ½ sticks Butter
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 whole Shallot, Minced
  • 1-½ teaspoon Dijon Mustard
  • 8 ounces, weight Cream Cheese, Sliced
  • 1-½ cup Grated Cheddar Cheese
  • Salt And Freshly Ground Black Pepper, To Taste
  • 2 whole Egg Whites, Beaten
Preparation Instructions

Heat butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and shallots and saute for 1 minute. Add Dijon and stir to combine. Reduce heat to low.

Add cream cheese and stir until melted. Add grated cheddar and stir until melted. Turn off heat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Fold in egg whites.

Dunk bread cubes in cheese, coating thoroughly. Place on a nonstick baking mat or sheet of waxed paper and freeze for 20 minutes, uncovered. Remove frozen chunks from tray and place into a Ziploc bag. Store in the freezer.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place frozen cheese puffs on a baking sheet with a nonstick baking mat or parchment paper, and bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately or at room temperature.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Candy Treats - Caramel Nut Truffles

Just saw this one this morning - of course, it's far from "Wendy Safe" - sorry, Wen! But, perhaps there's something that you can figure out to non-emulsifier it up...

We need:

  1. Caramel Hershey Kisses
  2. 1/2 cup cream
  3. Crushed nuts
  4. Pam Spray
Unwrap bowl full of caramel hershey kisses
Pour over enough cream to cover
Microwave 15 seconds
Cool in refrigerator for 4 hrs

Spray hands with Pam
Ball up a palm full of chocolate
Press another kiss in the center
Roll in nuts


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Spaghetti con Zucchine

While Kate insists tonight that she does not like zucchini (since when?) she devoured the spaghetti and kept telling me how much she loved it while she ate! Ken and I both thought it was good enough to serve company and it was super quick to make too!

Serves 4
1/2 lb spaghetti
3 medium zucchini (about a pound)
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan
a few fresh basil leaves (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Prepare spaghetti according to package directions. Make sure not to overcook it because at the end, you have to stir and stir and stir to make the creamy sauce.

Slice zucchini into thin rounds with the skin on. Saute the zucchini in 2 tbsp of olive oil until tender.

Reserve 1/4 cup of pasta water before draining the spaghetti. Chop butter into cubes and put in the bottom of the pan you used to cook the spaghetti, or in the bowl you plan to serve the pasta in. Place the spaghetti on the butter, add a little of the reserved pasta water and stir until the butter is completely melted. Alternate grated parmesan and reserved pasta water until it forms a creamy sauce on the spaghetti. Taste to make sure you have enough cheese. After the spaghetti is prepared with the butter/cheese sauce, add the zucchini and any oil left in the pan. Toss well to incorporate sauce into zucchini and zucchini into spaghetti. Serve with salt, pepper and chopped fresh basil leaves.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Halloween Treats!

Or, as I like to say, the knee bone's connected to the thigh bone... the thigh bone's connected to the hip bone...

AND in honor of our little "Naughty Skeleton" I'd like to share this yummy halloween treat -- Funny Bones! Please visit Epicurious for all the info... but basically, here's what you'll need:
  • 1 package white chocolate chips (2 cups)
  • Pretzel sticks
  • mini-marshmallows (about 1 cup) -- the really teeny tiny ones...
1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment or wax paper.

2. Place the chips in a double boiler over just-simmering water and melt, stirring frequently. I suck at melting chocolate, anyone will tell you. I also don't own a double boiler. I use 2 pans, one over a larger one, and do my darndest not to singe my arm hair in the process. This'll be fun with the kids. I think an equally fun thing would be to use the fondue pot, but I don't have one of those right now either. Come to think of it, I haven't had a fondue pot since Wendy & Ken's fondue party about 12 or 13 years ago. Wendy?? Where's my fondue pot??? (kidding).

3. Stick marshmallows onto both ends of the pretzels, with the marshmallows’ flat sides parallel to the pretzel. (This will be the kid's thing to do. What's the over/under on the kids eating all the marshmallows, sucking off the chocolate, and leaving me with slobbery stumps of salt-free pretzels? 20 minutes?

4. Dip each pretzel in the chocolate and lift out with a fork, letting the excess drip back in the bowl. (See note above. And, if we survive 20 minutes, I ask you. WITH A FORK??? Hands in chocolate, chocolate on clothes, on floor, in hair...hmmm maybe this recipe isn't the best idea...)

Lay the bones on the baking sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes to harden the chocolate. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or at a cool room temperature.

Yes, Epicurious. We will store the leftovers. I however don't think there will be any. Erp. Will post the results after we make this later today... Off to fetch kiddos and go to Walmart to buy supplies. And material for Rachel's Ghost Cape and Ellie's Naughty Skeleton costume.

Pray for me.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Homemade "ice cream" in 30 minutes flat

How to manage the perpetual request for sugary treats... every mother's constant struggle - right? Well mine at least. In a fit of creative inspiration, I concocted this "ice cream" recipe that I can feel good about serving as an afternoon snack. Its a great recipe for the kids to participate in too.

2 bananas
2 cups plain yogurt
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla

Mash bananas and mix in remaining ingredients. Pour into ice cream maker and wait to freeze (about 20 minutes depending on your ice cream maker). Serve. Smile when they say "I Love Ice Cream" knowing that its good for them too. I guess if you don't want to keep plain yogurt on hand (I do because I love it with trader joes lemon curd and frozen blueberries) you can sub the yogurt, honey and vanilla for vanilla yogurt. Also, I used whole milk yogurt which I'm sure helps the creaminess of it.

Mama's Makin Meatloaf!

Well, last night we had meatloaf. I love meatloaf. It's my ultimate comfort food--thoughts of mom in the kitchen, scrunching it together, chopping onions, letting me help by adding the "secret ingredient"... (read cheddar cheese!)


But, I have daughters who view this sort of meal with disdain. So, what's a mama to do?

Fun it up!

I prepared the meatloaf as usual...
Preheat oven to 350

In Kitchenaid mixer (or large stainless bowl) add:
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 cup Italian style breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp lemon pepper
  • 1 tsp ground mustard
  • 1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup finely diced onion
  • Press 2/3 of ground beef mixture into foil lined loaf pan, and create depression in center
  • Fill with generous amounts of shredded cheddar cheese
  • "Top" with remaining beef mixture
  • Cover top with barbecue sauce (It's delicious, I promise)
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes.
When 13 minutes to done... fill a pan with pilsbury ready-made buttermilk biscuits
Turn up heat to 375 and finish cooking.

They should be golden brown by the time the timer goes DING!

And, we use instant mashed potatoes, but if you feel the need to boil them and mash them yourself, have at it. Crash Hot Potatoes would also work well here, but are harder to FUN UP.

I diced the meatloaf, gave each kid a biscuit, and created "mashed potato men" with a baby carrot nose, and eyes, and broccoli arms.

I should have done ghosts, I thought afterward, but my daughter insisted the "mashed potato men" were great.

There was laughter. There was harmony. No one argued. Everyone ate. Including their dad. AND, we made it to cheer leading practice on time. Overall, this one was a slam-dunk. Adding to the Fall Arsenal!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Fall Crock Pot Creations - Chicken n Dumplings

Thanks to Two Rivers author T. Greenwood, we are having Chicken & Dumplings tonight!

Publisher's Weekly had this to say about Two Rivers: "Greenwood is a writer of subtle strength, evoking smalltown life beautifully while spreading out the map of Harper's life, finding light in the darkest of stories."

Here's the recipe....super easy:

put in Crockpot 4 boneless breasts seasoned with:
  • poultry seasoning
  • salt and pepper
  • chopped celery
  • onion
  • carrots
  • small can of peas (drained)
  • one can of cream of chicken soup
  • one can of cream of mushroom soup
  • half a can of chicken broth.
Cook on high for four hours or so... When you have about two or three hours to go, turn to low, and thicken the liquid with cornstarch if necessary, shred the chicken (without removing it from the pot).

Cover the entire thing with refrigerator biscuits...buttermilk Grands work great. (These would be the infamous "Tammy's Biscuits", I assume!)

Cook for another couple of hours.


Let's see. If I start this...NOW, I can make it in time for dinner. Will let you know how the munchkins enjoy it. And the husband. As you all know, the most finicky eater of all. Should work well for Gymnastics Wednesday!


Friday, September 11, 2009

Entertaining finicky children - Home Made Fingerpaint

Thanks to my friend Michelle Green, here is a recipe from her grandmother...


2 cups flour
2 cups salt
3 cups cold water
beat until most of the lumps are gone
add 2 cups hot water
pour into bottom of milk carton or coffee can
add food coloring

:) it makes A LOT! enjoy!"

Friday, August 28, 2009

In honor of Danielle Thorne's new title: Turtle Soup -- debuting with Awe-Struck E-books in the Fall 2009 list:

I give you:

Turtle Soup's Cherry Whip

1 20-ounce can of crushed pineapple
1 can of cherry pie filling
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1 large 16-ounce container of whipped topping

Drain the pineapple.

In a large bowl mix the pineapple, cherry pie filling, and sweetened condensed milk.

Gently stir in the whipped topping until blended and smooth. Cover.

Chill in refrigerator at least 3 hours or overnight before serving.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

It's a Wrap!

Tonight's meal plan called for wraps. See me, standing in front of my refrigerator. Watch, as I frown at the breadbox.

No fancy sun dried tomato or spinach wraps today, so I reached for the tortillas. Now, what to put in them?

I had turkey slices, and sliced ham.
I had bacon.
I had a red onion.
I had cheddar cheese, and blue cheese.
I had a bottle of ranch, and a bottle of Fresh and Easy blue cheese dressing (yum!).
I had tomatoes, fresh off the sad looking vine.
I had some kalamata olives.
I had lettuce to shred.
And, I had some salsa.
Finally, I located a box of crackers. Yes, that's right. Crackers.

Huh? That's a lot of ingredients that don't really match. What do we get when we put these things together?

1 (Almost) Cobb Wrap
1 Southwestern Turkey & Bacon Wrap.
And, instant lunchable dinner for two.

Almost Cobb Wrap:
(Regrettably, I did not have an avocado).
Slice turkey thin.
Crumble bacon.
Crumble blue cheese.
Dice red onion.
Shred cheddar cheese.
Shred lettuce.
Dice tomatoes.

Spread out wrap
drizzle top with blue cheese dressing.
Pile turkey, bacon, cheddar, red onion, tomatoes, lettuce, a bit more dressing, olives, and finally blue cheese crumbles.

For the Southwestern Turkey Bacon
Spread out wrap.
Combine 1 part salsa to 2 parts ranch.
Spread above "sauce" on wrap.
Pile turkey, bacon, cheddar, tomatoes, onion, lettuce (unless you're feeding Perry), and more cheddar.
Melt for 30 seconds in microwave.
Serve extra sauce for dipping.
Make another, he wanted seconds.

For the kids:
Fun up turkey & ham by using cookie cutter small shapes.
Do same for slices of cheddar cheese.
Serve with tomatoes and crackers.
Clean up crumbs!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip

Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip

I've been searching for this recipe forever... had to post it IMMEDIATELY upon finding... & link back to Recipe.com - of COURSE.

1 10-ounce package fresh baby spinach leaves, rinsed and well-drained
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 8-ounce carton dairy sour cream
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
3 ounces Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeƃ±o peppers, shredded (3/4 cup)
3/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese (3 ounces)
2 14-ounce cans artichoke hearts, well-drained and chopped
1/2 cup chopped red sweet pepper
Toasted Pita Chips (recipe follows) or thinly sliced French bread and/or assorted crackers

1. In food processor*, process spinach in small batches until finely chopped. Transfer spinach to a colander set over a bowl or sink; let drain.
2. In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sour cream, garlic powder and pepper with an electric mixer until combined. Add 3/4 cup of the Parmesan, the Monterey Jack and Swiss cheeses. Beat until combined. Stir in chopped spinach, artichokes and sweet pepper. Transfer mixture to a 2-quart oval or an 11x7x1-1/2-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.
3. Bake, uncovered, in a 350 degree F oven about 35 minutes or until heated through. Serve with Toasted Pita Chips. Makes about 8 cups (sixty 2-tablespoon servings)
Toasted Pita Chips
Split 5 large pita bread rounds in half horizontally. Using a sharp knife, cut each pita half into 6 wedges. Arrange wedges in a single layer on two ungreased baking sheets. Coat pita wedges with nonstick cooking spray. If you like, sprinkle lightly with paprika. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until wedges are crisp and golden brown. Makes 60 chips.
To tote
Cover casserole with a lid; cover tightly with heavy foil. Transport in an insulated carrier or container. Serve within 1 hour. Place pita chips in tightly covered storage container.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Meal Planning - Week One

This week, we have packed full pantry, a well stocked freezer and fridge, and this mama has a new goal -- I'm meal planning for the entire week.

I've seen it done. I know I can do it. I have a 5 year old starting kindergarten, and life's about to get busy.

The one thing I can control, is what we're having for dinner. My experience lately is, if I have dinner ready without canvassing the audience, chances are - everyone will eat. I've inspected the cupboards, the freezer, and the pantry. Here is this week's meal plan:

Sunday: Stromboli's w/ Pepperoni, mushrooms, & olives
* pack a snack: Juice box & Granola Bar

Monday: Stromboli leftovers w/ Pasta Side Dish & dinner salads for mom & dad
* pack a snack: Juice box & cheezits pack & grapes

Tuesday: Barbecue Pork Sandwiches, fries, and baked beans
* pack a snack: Juice box & Pub Mix

Wednesday: Fish Tacos (Fish sticks & fries for the girls)
* pack a snack: Juice box & cheese crackers & raisins

Thursday: Chef Salad with Grilled Chicken (chicken strips, ranch or barbecue sauce, and veggies for the kids)
* pack a snack: (water bottle / juice box, granola bar, & raisins)

Friday: Hot Dogs & Hamburgers
* pack a snack: (holy cow - week one and I'm ALREADY foreseeing a snack-rut! Help!)
Saturday: Pierogies & Broccoli

Sound good? We'll see how it goes. My goal is to not go shopping for anything other than milk, orange juice, and bananas.

Oh, and send healthy snack ideas for my little miss!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Bumper Crops of Zucchini and Tomatoes?

Try this amazing, summer "Recession Garden" Treat...

This one actually brought rave reviews by the whole family -- everyone found something to like about the seared zucchini, the light pasta, and of course -- I enjoyed it along with a lovely Pinot Grigio from Southern California's award winning South Coast Winery

You'll need:

Thin sliced Zucchini
1 clove minced garlic
2 tbs EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
1 tbs butter
liberal amounts of Parmesan cheese

Bow-tie pasta - prepare per directions

Bring olive oil and butter to bubbly
Toss in clove of garlic
Sautee zucchini approx. 3-4 min
Right when it starts to "brown" - dust with salt & Parmesan cheese

Once pasta finished, drain and toss with bit of salt & olive oil
Serve Zucchini over the pasta along with crusty bread

If you have a ton of grape tomatoes like I do, you can also slice those in half, and serve as a side salad - with chunks of mozzarella, fresh basil leaves, and equal parts olive oil & balsamic vinaigrette.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Apple Crisp

Here's one that I love and plan for making for the kiddos tonight for dessert:

Slice up one to two apples per person - thin or thick, your preference
juice from 1/2 lemon - fresh from your lemon tree (note - if you don't have one, you need one).

Dump sliced apples into casserole dish. Squeeze lemon over top - no seeds, mind you!

In a separate bowl, create mixture of:
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 tbs flour
  • 1 tbs cinnamon
  • 1 tbs sugar
Cut butter into brown sugar, flour, cinn. and sugar until a crumbly mixture.

Dump over top of apples. Pat down until even.

Cut thin pats of butter to place around top of the mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Serve with vanilla ice cream, using sauce as topping.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Easy Chicken Enchilada Skillet

You'll Need:

* 1 tbs olive oil/1 tbs butter for flavor
* 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cut into chunks
* 1 can chicken broth
* 1 can Cream Of Chicken soup
* 2 tbs flour
* 6 flour tortillas, cut into pieces
* 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
* ½ cup salsa

Music/Media of Choice: Swap favorite CD’s with your best friend and dance to a different tune!

To Create this Magnificent Meal:

- Heat oil & butter in large deep skillet, add chicken and cook thoroughly – about 7 minutes.

- Mix broth, soup, and flour until well blended. Add to skillet gradually, stirring all the while. Add tortillas, and stir to fully combine ingredients. Bring to bubbly boil. Simmer for about 3-5 minutes.

- Sprinkle top with cheese & cover until cheese melts. Top with salsa & serve with Zesty Refried Beans! Ole!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Lemonade on the Rocks!

Here's another Lemonade recipe...

The kids'll love this one!

Alright, you started it! Here's Dani Thorne's lemonade. It ROCKS!

1 lemon, cut into quarters
2 to 3 tablespoons of sugar
1 cup of water
1 mason jar filled halfway with ice

Cut and squeeze juice from lemon into mason jar and ice. After squeezing, put one of the lemon quarters into the jar. Add two to three tablespoons of sugar. Fill jar with 6 to 8 oz of water (the ice should raise it to about 3/4 to the top of the jar). Put the lid on and shake for two minutes.

Drink immediately!


Southern Style Homemade Lemonade!

Here is a truly southern way to make the best lemonade ever. I reduce the sugar a bit as we like it just a tad tart.

Perfect Lemonade

Perfect Lemonade Recipe


  • 1 cup sugar (can reduce to 3/4 cup)
  • 1 cup water (for the simple syrup)
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 3 to 4 cups cold water (to dilute)


1 Make simple syrup by heating the sugar and water in a small saucepan until the sugar is dissolved completely.
2 While the sugar is dissolving, use a juicer to extract the juice from 4 to 6 lemons, enough for one cup of juice.
3 Add the juice and the sugar water to a pitcher. Add 3 to 4 cups of cold water, more or less to the desired strength. Refrigerate 30 to 40 minutes. If the lemonade is a little sweet for your taste, add a little more straight lemon juice to it.
Serve with ice, sliced lemons.
Serves 6.
Thanks to my friend, Dixie (and what's more southern than that!)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Gnocchi and Pie

Tonight's special request was pie. Berry Pie to be specific. Its super easy, but still, I had 45 minutes to get dinner ready and two toddlers who wanted to help. So I opted for Trader Joes Gorgonzola Gnocchi that takes just 7 minutes to make. Of course, I had to embellish.

Gorgonzola Gnocchi with Spinach and Crimini Mushrooms
One bag Trader Joes Gorgonzola Gnocchi
One package of Brown Crimini Mushrooms washed and cut in half
Half a bag of baby spinach

Saute the mushrooms in olive oil - they can be chopped up more than in half if you prefer but I was holding a baby at the time so in half was a good as it was going to get. When they are cooked, add the package of Gorgonzola Gnocchi. I didn't bother adding the tablespoon of oil that they said to add because I figured that between the moisture from the mushrooms and the oil I had already put it, we were clear. Once the gnocchi looks finished (all of the clumps of frozen cream sauce are melted) add the spinach. Cook until the spinach is wilted. Takes about 15 minutes.

Three Berry Pie (or Google Berry Pie in honor of Noddy)
1 package of frozen pie crust from Trader Joes
1 1/2 packages of Very Berry frozen berry mix from Trader Joes
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup corn starch

Defrost the pie crust (be sure to take them out of the box) and the berries for about a half an hour. Or if you're not that together, stick the pie crust on top of the stove while you preheat the oven to 375 and defrost the berries for 2 minutes on 6 in the microwave. This plan works well for me. Combine the berries, sugar and corn starch. Line the bottom of your pie plate with one of the pieces of the pie crust. Fill with berry mixture. Cover with other pie crust, crimp and poke. This is a fun one to do with a three year old but a one year old really can't manage to do more than make a terrible mess and fall off the stool. Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 50 minutes with the edges covered with foil or until it looks bubbly.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Tiny Potatoes

Do we really need another potato recipe? Probably not. This was a special request from Ken because he loved tonight's potatoes.

Small Creamer Potatoes cut into tiny chunks (like 1/4-1/2 inch pieces)
olive oil
sea salt
garlic powder
smoked paprika

Combine everything in a bowl - use lots of olive oil and sea salt, a little garlic powder and a little smoked paprika. Cook in a 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes (just about the same amount of time that it takes to cook the fish sticks from Trader Joes - Yum!)

Corned Beef Part Deux - Mac and Cheese Mish Mosh

Today for lunch I made Kraft mac and cheese. Of course I can't just serve it as it comes out of the box. Its just not in my nature. For goodness sake, I was adding mushrooms and broccoli to my Ramen in college!

I had some cooked peas, so of course those went in and I was about to zap a couple of hot dogs and chop them up when I saw the left over corned beef from earlier this week. Hey! Its almost hot dog flavored! It was a hit. So much so that Kate, who refused to eat it at first because she had already decided she wanted to have cereal for lunch, actually asked for some after she "finished" her cereal! (By finished I mean she drank all of the milk out of the bowl with a straw and then took about three bites of the actual cereal - the rest is sitting in the refrigerator for when she asks for a snack. We'll see how that goes).

Anyway, here's the recipe:

Mac and Cheese with Corned Beef and Peas
The most important thing to remember with this recipe is to ignore the instructions on the box of mac and cheese. It always comes out so watery and slimy. Most of this recipe is according to taste and look. If it looks good, its going to taste good!

One box of Kraft Mac and Cheese (or whatever works for you)
1/2 to 1 cup of cooked peas (I love trader joes organic frozen peas - they are sweet and tender and big and crunchy all at the same time!)
1/2 to 1 cup of chopped corned beef (cut up into little pea sized cubes)
1/4 to 1/2 cup of shredded cheese

Cook the noodles until they are tender. Drain. Add a pat of butter, the bag of cheese and stir over low heat until combined. Add milk until it looks creamy. Add the peas and corned beef. Keep stirring and heating. Add more milk if it starts to look to sticky. When it seems hot enough for you to serve, but too hot for the kids to eat, add the shredded cheese and stir. You'll probably add more milk again to make it creamier and to help the cheese combine so this will cool it down again.

P.S. This goes great with a bottle of beer. I happened to have Michelob ultra left over from previous visitors, but I don't think it matters. Is it bad that I'm drinking at lunch?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Corned Beef and Cabbage

Ok - I know. How weird that nice a jewish boy from BH and an original valley girl living just outside of weho with their two little girls would opt for corned beef and cabbage for dinner in early June. Here's the thing. We were at Costco on Friday (Ken's birthday treat since he loves Costco way more than any normal person should) and they were sampling Corned Beef. The girls LOVED it - they asked for more! So of course we had to buy some.

Here's the low down on our menu for tonight:

Bill Bailey's Corned Beef Brisket (in the refrigerator section)
Cook it for 7 minutes in the microwave - straight from the freezer. Directions are on the box. Couldn't be easier.

Sauteed Cabbage
Here's the recipe - http://www.home-ec101.com/back-to-basics-sauteed-cabbage/. We cheated and got a bag of shredded cabbage. Evidently its actually good for you!

Mashed Potatoes and Peas
Some nice small potatoes like Yukon Gold or creamers are good, but any will do. Boil them Mash them. Add some cooked peas, milk to make them as creamy as you like, butter and salt to taste.

Seriously, everyone ate well, and we didn't even starve them all day!!!

P.S. I don't know what wine would go well with this because the BV Signet Collection Cabernet I had open really didn't work - it did go nicely with the dark chocolate I used to sedate myself with before bath time though.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I love my kids, but...

Here's a lunch I will NEVER EVER MAKE for them.

We don't own a Bento Box - nor do I serve my daughter's sushi.
Rachel, not for lack of trying.
Ellie, for fear she'll love it as much as I do.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Homemade Bread - no seriously...

So this has become a totally fail safe way to entertain Kate while I start dinner. I just set her loose with the ingredients and the mixer and somehow she manages with just a little supervision. Plus she loves kneading the dough and its totally safe for her to take tastes of it.

Hot Crusty French Bread

The rapid rise yeast is the key. I've been adding a tablespoon of sugar too.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Pioneer Woman - Crash Hot Potatoes

In honor of All or Nothing's release (shameless plug inserted here)

I'm posting this recipe for Pioneer Woman Potatoes. They just look AWESOME. I'm not overly sure that pioneer women had access to olive oil. IN ANY CASE...


I just love how this site is laid out, the images just make me want to reach in, and recreate this fantastic meal. I'm going to get some rib eyes tonight, a head of iceberg lettuce (does anyone eat iceberg lettuce anymore? We're totally romaine over here...)

At any rate -- Rachel loves beef. Ellie loves beef. Perry & I do, as well - so should be a fun, albeit expensive dinner for all. Shoot. Maybe I should go for flank steak. Any suggestions?

Let me know your thoughts!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Chicken Kabobs - a grilled delight!

Chicken Kabobs, Mashed Potatoes, and Roasted Veggies!

Well, tonight was Cinco de Mayo and we roasted chicken kabobs - in a lovely olive oil, white wine, and spice mixture.

I blended cayenne pepper, garlic salt, and cumin - and sprinkled it over cubed chicken breast, interspersed with diced red onion, green pepper, red pepper, gold pepper, and mushrooms.

Dredged it all in a mix of olive oil and white wine...

Grilled over med/hi flame - for about 10 minutes total, turning as needed. I tossed the mushrooms on separate - and grilled them just rolling around on the barbecue.

WONDERFUL flavors. Served up with instant mashed potatoes for a REAL treat. Girls picked at the veggies, ate the chicken & potatoes with their virgin margaritas (lemonade & mint leaves) We enjoyed, w REAL margaritas, of course! :) Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

L.'Authentique - seriously???

Ok, so at the suggestion of the manager at the new Trader Joe's down the street, I tried this wine. I can't remember if it was $4 or $5, but whatever. Its a red table wine from France. Really bold, a little on the sweet side for a French wine. I thought it was ok on the first day. Today is the 3rd day it was open (vacuumed in the fridge) and when I tasted it today it was even sweeter. Very cherry. Verrrry bold. Then my mom tells me that French table wines are traditionally cut with water. WHAT? I've never heard of such a crazy thing, but I'm totally willing to try it. So I do. IT WAS FANTASTIC!!! I have no idea if this would work with another wine, but it made this glass refreshing. I really enjoyed drinking it with my salad and avocado egg rolls from cheesecake (it was such a takeout night tonight). Who knew??

Monday, April 20, 2009

Chicken Kabobs & Rice Pilaf... Yum!

Last night called for a barbecue. A perfect night for it, truly - warm, breezy, lovely. I got pre-made chicken kabobs, with green and red peppers, and red onion... I drenched them in my own mixture:

White Wine & olive oil, crushed garlic clove, sprig rosemary from rosemary bush by the front door. (drink rest of bottle with mineral water while barbecuing. :)

Perry was watching a baseball game. The girls were playing on their swing set - I only had to run out and push a time or two. Bliss.

The rice took about 20 minutes - truly, I'd prefer steamed white rice for next time. A fave of my mom & dad's, we really could do without the extra work.

I broiled a few slices of La Brea olive bread along with, and next time will make sure to toss a few mushrooms on the grill for some added flavor.

My FAVORITE summer time barbecue... Didn't even require extra sauce, which for Perry is a HUGE vote in my favor.

The girls ate dino chicken. THEY CHOSE DINO CHICKEN over grilled. *sigh*

At least they ate the veggies. ;-)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Do Cheap Wine Reviews Fit Here?

So I purchased this bottle of zin from Trader Joes on a total whim because it had a cool label and it was only $4.99. Unfortunately it was pretty bad and gave me a terrible headache the next morning to boot. So I started thinking, wouldn't it be great if there was a site that reviewed cheap wines from places like Trader Joes and Costco? I found a ton of them. The problem is the reviews are long winded and confusing. I think it would be more fun if we had our own personal reviews (like one from Ashley about the Costco wine she currently loves).

Now what do I do with 3/4 of a bottle of bad zin?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Terri's Famous Tuna Casserole

Last night Ken wanted something with Tuna - his suggestion was tuna sandwiches but I really wanted something more dinner like. Then he said, how about Tuna Casserole!?! So I called my mom and while we were on the phone, she gave me instructions. Dinner was a hit.

Of course my mom's super easy version involves using Campbell's Cheddar Cheese Soup, but since I can't have that, (and didn't have it on hand) she gave me the slightly more foodie recipe (can tuna casserole be a foodie dinner?) Everything is pretty flexible in terms of amounts so just make sure you taste as you go.

2 cups dried elbow macaroni (cooked)
2 cans of tuna (drained)
3 tbsp butter
1/2 cup chopped onions
3 tbsp flour
1.5 c milk
3 ounces of cheddar cheese shredded
3 ounces of freshly grated (not the kind in the can) parmesan cheese
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1/4 tsp powdered sage
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt

In a sauce pan (or the same pan you used for the macaroni) melt the butter and saute the onions on medium heat until they begin the carmalize. Add the flour to the mixture and cook for about a minute. Very slowly add the milk stirring the whole time. Once the milk is added and the sauce is smooth (or relatively smooth) add about 2 ounces of the cheddar cheese and about 2 ounces of the parmesan cheese. Stir until melted. Add the mustard, sage, garlic powder and salt to taste (keeping in mind that tuna is kind of salty to don't make it too salty. Combine the macaroni, sauce and tuna and transfer to a casserole dish. Top with the remaining cheddar cheese and bake in the oven at 350 until its bubbly (about a half hour). Serve with a nice crisp green salad! The leftovers are even better the next day!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Recipe For Life

It's a new year, and time to prioritize for all of us. This was an e-mail forward this morning that touched my heart - and seemed like a good recipe for moms dealing with finicky eaters...and stresses of every day life. Read it, and be blessed! Let's all make this recipe today, shall we? :)

  1. Take a 10-30 minute walk every day. And while you walk, smile. It is the ultimate anti-depressant.2. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.
  2. Talk to God about what is going on in your life. Buy a lock if you have to.
  3. When you wake up in the morning complete the following statement, 'My purpose is to__________ today. I am thankful for______________
  4. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.
  5. Drink green tea and plenty of water. Eat blueberries, broccoli, almonds & walnuts.
  6. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
  7. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip, energy vampires, issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the present moment.
  8. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a college kid with a maxed out charge card.
  9. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
  10. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
  11. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
  12. You are not so important that you have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
  13. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.
  14. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
  15. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
  16. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: 'In five years, will this matter?'
  17. Forgive everyone for everything.
  18. What other people think of you is none of your business.
  19. GOD heals everything - but you have to ask Him.
  20. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
  21. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch!!!
  22. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
  23. Each night before you go to bed complete the following statements: I am thankful for_________. Today I accomplished______.
  24. Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed.
  25. When you are feeling down, start listing your many blessings. You'll be smiling before you know it.